Painting and decorating

Mature Student!

Well I’m just over half way through the first year on my Arts and Humanities degree and I’m actually quite enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, there are assignments that I just can’t get on with (anything to do with Philosophy!) but on the whole I’m learning and along with that, I’m practising my writing skills.

I’m studying part time so it’s going to take me 6 years to complete as each year will take 2 years. This means I’ll be 46 by the time I finish but I’m fine with that (I seriously am, honestly). I picked Arts and Humanities because I wanted to do Creative Writing. I wanted to do something I enjoyed rather than something that would further my career and I learn better when I am enjoying myself (doesn’t everyone!). I also wanted to learn skills that would help me with my writing cause honestly, I really do love taking ideas from my brain and putting them down on paper (or laptop in this case lol). When I was in school, my English Teacher really inspired me and told me that I had a creative brain and I should harness that as my imagination could take me anywhere I wanted it too! That’s always stayed with me and I’ve got so many creative ideas in my head, I keep thinking it is going to explode! The problem I had is that although the ideas are there, I didn’t know how to put them into a book that would get published? Enter The Open University .

I enrolled after having a conversation with Kev. In fairness he was really supportive (didn’t make fun or anything!) and told me if that was what I wanted to do, he would support me. He was even more supportive when I told him that I could get a Student Grant and Loan so that we wouldn’t have to pay for it up front! I enrolled and haven’t looked back. In all honesty, I can’t believe how much I’ve done already. The process is quite simple too and the Open University website is so easy to use. They are so supportive with any questions you have and once you pick a course, you even get a tutor.

The one downside to it (even though this suits me fine, it might not suit everyone), its all online, so you don’t always get to go to classes. Each course is different but it is essentially distance learning. On the degree I am doing, there is some forum work and my tutor isn’t even in the same area as me. I’m fine with this because I’m quite tech savvy but if you struggle, it might not be the option for you.

You’ve got to make sure you have time to complete the essays, so some sort of time management skills are needed. I already have these because it is part of my job but there are also courses that teach you these things. I’ve actually improved mine too which I didn’t think was possible.

Obviously because it’s distance learning, you have to have a lot of self motivation. This was something I struggled with at the start (sitting down in front of the TV is an illness I must deal with lol). I’ve solved this (well, to a certain extent) with an app called Todoist. You can put it on your phone as an app and on your laptop. It’s an amazing app that you an use to organise your time as you can set up tasks and it then gives you reminders (you still need a bit of motivation to not just delete the reminders!). You can have several projects in it so it can be used for other things too (to remind you to write your blog to start with!) and you can really organise your time through it. Here’s a picture of mine.

Anyway, to get back to what I was originally talking about, I’m doing a degree. This wasn’t an option for me when I was younger as I really hated college but now that I’m all grown up (well, I pretend to be anyway!) I have the ability to push myself more and actually complete things. I’m not planning doing massive things (who knows what will happen) but even if I could get some of the ideas that are in my head out and onto paper, it would mean that there is more room in there for other things (like actually being able to remember why I went in a room!). Who knows, I might even be able to get something published, and maybe in the future I will be talking to you as a published writer and maybe my story would have been turned into a film (hey it worked for J K Rowling!). My point is, I’m trying to do something to better myself and you are never too old to try something new (there are quite a few students that are retired and in the golden years of their life!).

I also actively promote the Open University to nearly everyone I talk to. I find that as soon as I mention that I am doing a degree, people react with a ‘really, tell me more’ (well at least I think they do, they might not really care but are just being nice!). A few people that I have mentioned it to have actually gone ahead and registered and started their own course with the Open University (I really need to think about charging them commission, now there’s a job prospect!). One friend is actually going to be hopefully starting a Masters in October as they have already done a degree and they can also get that funded (guess what I’m doing once I’ve finished my degree!).

I find it amazing how much I love learning and how much the people around me are the same. If you had told me 5 years ago I’d be studying towards a degree I would have told you to go away (or words similar!) but here I am, proving that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still do anything you want. It just shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks! Maybe you can do the same, go on, give it a try!

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